The East Anglian Daily Times has walked away with the big prize at this year’s EDF Energy East of England Media Awards.
The EADT won the prestigious Daily Newspaper of the Year title, with the Essex Chronicle and Hunts Post coming top in their respective weekly newspaper categories.
It was a hat trick of awards for the Ipswich daily, which also scooped Sports Reporter of the Year and Columnist of the Year.
Around 200 journalists gathered at Whipsnade Zoo for the event, where the guest list represented the best of the media across the region, including Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire and parts of Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire.
They saw the Evening Star, Ipswich, lift the prize for the best community campaign, Somebody’s daughter, hailed by the judges as “superb”.
Staff from the Cambs Times won two awards, with John Elworthy named Weekly Print Journalist of the Year and his colleague Tom Jackson being recognised as Newcomer of the Year.
Olympic swimmer and six times world champion Mark Foster was the special guest, and helped present the awards with Paul Cuttill, chief operating officer for EDF Energy’s networks branch.
Compere Kevin Bentley said: “This year we received 200 entries from across the region – which is fantastic. And competition was fierce. Everyone short-listed here today has produced work worthy of recognition.”
Daily Newspaper of the Year
East Anglian Daily Times
“Well-constructed for its target market. It didn’t over-glamourise issues, but avoided slipping into boring territory.”
The judges said the paper was interesting and had decent coverage of local issues. Particular mention was made of the sports pages and the judges commended the paper for an excellent Saturday magazine, which was truly local and not just filled with PA copy.
Weekly Newspaper of the Year (Paid-for)
“A bold, clean layout and a really good paper you would be pleased to get through your letterbox.”
The Chronicle’s approach to news is simple – producing quality, grassroots journalism for its five local editions, while keeping readers informed of the wider county picture. The judges felt the paper ‘sings’ Essex.
Weekly Newspaper of the Year (Free)
The Hunts Post
“A very clean paper with great attention to detail. Everything had a strong local angle and it was a belting newspaper that didn’t let the reader drift off. Its information services were strong and it appreciates its market.”
One judge was stunned that such a strong paper could be produced by such a small team.
Community Campaign of the Year
Evening Star – Somebody’s daughter
Praised for running a campaign in the wake of the Suffolk prostitute murders that could only be described as “superb”.
The judges said: “This was an exceptional campaign that was attitude-changing and thought provoking. Much of it was controversial so this was also a brave campaign to run.”
Front Page of the Year
Cambridge Evening News – ‘Failures’
“Simple execution and strong visual impact.”
Failures illustrates the enormity of the damning findings of a Government inquiry into the running of South Cambs District Council and spells out the crucial failings of the local authority.
TV News/Current Affairs Programme of the Year
BBC Look East
“The mixture of interviews and pre-recorded packages led to an authoritative live edition of the programme… three particularly good elements in their entry.”
Radio News/Current Affairs Programme of the Year
Breakfast show with Mark Murphy, BBC Radio Suffolk
Praised for broadcasting the ongoing developments during the Suffolk murders day in, day out, while still maintaining a balance of other news stories from the county.
Print Journalist of the Year (Daily)
Jon Austin, Basildon Echo
“A tenacious journalist who produced thorough investigations. They were prepared to go well beyond their patch to track down details and expose information to the community they serve.”
Print Journalist of the Year (Weekly)
John Elworthy, Cambs Times
“A reporter who clearly knows his community well and whose entry demonstrated the value of having good contacts.
“He proved the strength of his local contacts when he obtained a picture story on a piglet, dubbed Lucky after a river rescue, but who was shot dead hours later by RSPCA inspectors implementing foot and mouth restrictions.”
Television Journalist of the Year
Nick Lawrence, BBC TV East
“Has exposed everything from the small time con artist to the failings of major government quangos – outstanding work.”
Radio Journalist of the Year
Paul Moseley, BBC Radio Norfolk
“Three outstanding pieces of radio journalism” included an investigation, a fun piece and an exclusive that was followed up internationally.
Newcomer of the Year
Tom Jackson, Cambs Times
“Submitted three quality pieces of journalism, all of which went beyond the obvious and showed real skill at building and maintaining contacts”
Website of the Year
Archant Herts & Cambs
Last year’s winner “continues to give a strong showing. It is a neat and tidy site but is still very busy, with lots to do.”
Feature Writer of the Year
Stacia Briggs, Norwich Evening News
Short-listed for this category because the judges rated her “distinctive writing style” so highly. Her claim to fame is being named public enemy number 1 on a Russian website for fans of Croc shoes.
Columnist of the Year
Lynne Mortimer, East Anglian Daily Times
A traditional column that really made the judges laugh. One said he would buy the paper on this day just for the column.
News Photographer of the Year
Antony Kelly, Archant Norfolk
The entry included a nice image of a girl with a computer; a strong baby portrait; a boxing picture and a close up of a pair of sandy feet.
“The best overall mix of photos, including some great images on subjects that were hard to make interesting.”
Sports Journalist of the Year
Derek Davis, East Anglian Daily Times
Praised for breaking stories that included great content.
“Gained the confidence of those they were talking to and included the best range of work, with fewer cliches.”
Business Journalist of the Year
Chris Starkie, Eastern Daily Press
“Incisive commentary and thorough research. This journalist’s entry was the hallmark of good business reporting.”
Environmental Journalist of the Year
Rebecca Peppiatt, Basildon Echo and Richard Daniel, BBC Look East
“A local paper that executed a good idea to good effect and national standard broadcast material produced regionally.”
Rebecca ran a green campaign for home owners and her work was so successful it was lifted from the property supplement into the main paper and ran every Friday for two months.
Richard’s entry included an investigation into the problem of wild bird egg theft and a piece on renewable energy.